Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of  Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from across the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Israel, Norway, and China to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities.

During a 25-year education career, Sheryl has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and is in the dissertation phase of completing her doctorate in Educational Planning, Policy and Leadership at the College of William and Mary.

Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics of 21st Century reform, teacher and educational leadership, community building, and educational issues impacting marginalized populations such as the homeless. She is an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educators initiative and a leader in the development of USDOE’s first Connected Educators Month in August 2012. She currently serves on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors. She also served on the New Media Consortium’s 2012 Horizon.K12 Report Advisory Board and their 2013 Horizon Higher Education Report Advisory Board. Sheryl consults with governments and non-profits that are integrating online communities and networks into their professional learning initiatives, including the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI), Virtual Independent School Network (VISNET), and the Oberkotter Foundation.

Sheryl lives near the Virginia shore and spends her spare time playing on the water with her four children, her grandson Luke Skywalker Walblay, and a trio of longhaired dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.

willbiopicsmall1Will Richardson: A parent of two middle school aged children, I’ve been thinking and writing about the intersection of social online learning networks and education for the past 10 years at, in numerous journals and magazines such as Ed LeadershipEducation Week andEnglish Journal, and most recently at I’m an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer.

A former public school educator for 22 years, I’m a co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice – unique Professional Development for Teachers that has mentored over 5,000 teachers worldwide in the last five years. My first book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (Corwin Press, 3rdEdition 2010) has sold over 80,000 copies and has impacted classroom practice around the world. My second book, Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education, (Solution Tree) was released in May, 2011. And my third book, a collection of blog posts titled Learning on the Blog, was published in August of 2011 by Corwin Press.

Over the past six years, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to speak and work with to tens of thousands of educators in over a dozen countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth. I’m proud to ba a national advisory board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation, and a regular columnist for District Administration Magazine.

When I’m not on the road, you can find me in rural New Jersey with my wife Wendy and my children Tess and Tucker.

Community Leaders

Lani Ritter HallLani Ritter Hall is Community Leader of the Connected Learner Experience as well as Director of Connected Coaching. She also serves as the “Newbie Maven”, helping along and nurturing newbies to the PLP experience. Lani brings more than 35 years of teaching experiences in urban, sub urban, and independent schools at the middle/secondary level in the U.S and Canada to this work. A national board certified teacher, she and her students began collaborating globally in the late 1980’s. Lani has created and facilitated professional development around technology infusion into learning for over twenty years and served in a leadership role for the K12Online Conference for 2 years. She blogs at Possibilities Abound.

Lyn HiltLyn Hilt is a Community Leader in the PLP Community Hub. She is the principal of Brecknock Elementary School, a K-6 public school serving 450 students, located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She also serves as the district’s Elementary Technology Integrator and Coach. She designs and implements professional learning opportunities for teachers to learn about the shifts in learning and the integration of technology to support student learning and instruction. Lyn shares her experiences on her blog, The Principal’s Posts, and is also a contributor to Connected Principals and PLP’s Voices from the Learning Revolution. Lyn enjoys connecting and collaborating with other passionate educators, and you can find her on Twitter (@l_hilt).

amandarablinAmanda Rablin is a community leader in the PLP Community Hub. She has been providing support to Australian teachers and schools with a focus on ICT for over 10 years. She has dedicated her career to helping teachers face ICT challenges and produce meaningful student learning. She has a Masters Degree in Education, majoring in ICT. Amanda was on the board of QSITE (Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education) for 5 years and was also awarded the QSITE Emerging Leader of the Year award in 2005. In 2010 she received a Making IT Happen award through QSITE and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) joining other educational technology leaders around the world recognised for their commitment and innovation. She tweets as @ackygirl and blogs at

Peter SkillenPeter Skillen is a Community Leader of the Connected Learner Experience and has also served as an ‘Experienced Voice’ for the PLP Network. He is currently Manager of Professional Learning for Social Media with the YMCA of Greater Toronto after 40 years teaching students & teachers. He was a founding teacher at the YMCA Academy – a secondary school serving youth who prefer an alternative approach. Peter has been involved in technology supported, project-based learning since the late 1970s and continues to explore & develop deep applications of the latest Web 2.0 technologies – particularly as it relates to learner agency, passion, motivation and cognitive intent.  Peter serves on the Board of Directors of iEARN-CanadaThe Educational Computing Organization of Ontario, and is global ambassador with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). He develops and supports both face-to-face and online learning for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. Peter is also co-founder of the Minds On Media model of professional learning which truly reflects how he wishes classrooms to be.  He encourages all students & teachers to be mindful – to ‘take charge of their own learning’. Peter blogs at The Construction Zone and loves…rock-climbing, motorcycles, mountains, oceans…yeah, adventures – even at his age!!

Brenda SherryBrenda Sherry is community leader of the Connected Learner Experience.  She is currently an Itinerant Technology Coach at Upper Grand District School Board in Ontario, Canada, after 20 years as a regular classroom and special education teacher.   Her passion for technology use in schools comes from the fact that it levels the playing field for all students;  providing access to content and participation in new ways, opportunities for relevant and authentic learning within the classroom and around the world, and providing creative and unique ways for all students to demonstrate their learning.   Using social media to connect and learn with teachers both nearby and around the world,  she has co-founded Minds On Media, she chairs the Educational Computing Organization’s Annual Conference, develops and facilitates professional learning for the Ontario Teacher’s Federation  and has been a Connected Coach with the PLP Network.  Brenda blogs at Learning Zone and tries to get to the mountains for skiing and hiking whenever she can.


Christen DoddChristen Dodd is the Director of eLearning for Powerful Learning Practice.  After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instructionat the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher.  She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level.  For the past eleven years, Christen has been training educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity.  She has served as the Distance Learning Coordinator for and most recently their Vice President of Professional Development.  She is looking forward to bringing her enthusiasm and passion to Powerful Learning Practice and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike.

Marketing & Capacity Building

John NortonJohn Norton is Coordinator of Content and Capacity Building for Powerful Learning Practice and edits our group blog Voices from the Learning Revolution.  In 2012, John also became Editorial Director of Powerful Learning Press. John is an education consultant, specializing in writing, editing and virtual community development. He’s been an award-winning education journalist, director of a state teacher recruitment center, and served as Vice President for Information at the Southern Regional Education Board. Founder of MiddleWeb and co-founder of the Teacher Leaders Network, he began his long career on the support side of education in the 1970s, when he was a parent organizer and student advocate during the early days of school desegregation in the South. He lives in the mountain woods of North Carolina, thanks to high-speed DSL.

Amber Karnes

Amber Karnes is Marketing Director for Powerful Learning Practice. Her 10+ years experience includes graphic design, web design, web development, social media marketing, content strategy, content creation, and more. Amber has worked with clients from national touring bands to bestselling authors to Fortune 500 companies, and specializes in empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs to take control of their web presence and make their businesses shine. Amber has a B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Old Dominion University and is extensively self-taught through the university of “Googling it and figuring it out”. You can find her on Twitter as @amberkarnes or blogging about her adventures at My Aim Is True. When she’s not writing, designing, and building a better internet, you can find her practicing yoga, knitting or quilting, reading, or hiking in the Virginia mountains with her husband and Boston terrier.

amandaAmanda Krueger is our Social Media Strategist. She is an eCommerce whiz, social media wunderkind, and a self-proclaimed idea junky. Amanda built, ran, and eventually sold a successful, large-scale eCommerce website. Craving a more flexible alternative to big-biz, she’s thrilled to currently be working with amazing entrepreneurs to make their business and marketing dreams a reality. She credits her patience, creativity, and perfect hands to her enigmatic grandmother.  Everything else she picked up along the way.  You can wince at her attempts at humor on twitter as @amanda_krueger or follow her blog ramblings at Out Like Bandits. Amanda homeschools her 10 year old son Max and a smarmy Bengal cat on the shores of coastal Virginia. Both the cat and the child have turned out okay so far.  Only time will tell.

Chris Headshot

Chris Davis is a Senior Graphic Designer for Power Learning Practice. He comes from a computer science background and has recently obtained an AAS in graphic design. Chris is an avid CrossFitter, a Paleo nut, and possibly part monkey. He has a special place in his heart for furry canine companions and animation, and in some cases the two together. His aspirations include but are certainly not limited to joining the Virginia Beach Police Department, continuing his art education and becoming the world’s first partial cyborg. Zombies beware. Chris is looking forward to a wonderful and productive year at PLP.

Connected Coaches

beckybBecky Bair: I’m a 4th grade teacher in the Elizabethtown Area School District in south central Pennsylvania. I just started my 15th year of teaching, and during that time I’ve taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, a 4th / 5th multiage class, and started the elementary technology program for my district. This is my third year with PLP having spent the last two participating and growing in Year 1 and Year 2. Besides being a Connected Coach I also write for Voices for the Learning Revolution. My passions are giving my students a voice and helping them make connections using technology, and meeting the needs of the whole child, not just the parts that need to take the test.

Outside of school my husband and I are the “parents” of two wonderful rescue dogs, Maxx and Snickers. I’m equally happy hiking through the mountains, lounging on the beach or just spending the evening in our backyard with friends and family. You can follow me on Twitter @becky7274 and at my blog, Teach ‘n’ Life.

markcarboneMark Carbone is celebrating his 32nd year in K12 education and is currently the Chief Information Officer at the Waterloo Region District School Board. The Board services 64,000 students through 122 schools. He has served in a variety of roles including teacher, department head, ICT consultant and IT Management. Additionally, Mark is a member of the Ministry of Education OSAPAC committee (Ontario, Canada) and serves on the OASBO Boad of Directors for Ontario School Board officials.

Mark is an active member of the online community, and an experienced learner and coach within the PLP community. His thoughts and reflections concerning K12 education can be read here. Mark is a co-founder and contributing author at the Ontario ConnectED Leaders Consortium and contributing author at VoicEd. He also enjoys opportunities to regularly present a conferences. Follow Mark on Twitter as @markwcarbone.

On a personal note, Mark is an active musician who enjoys arranging music and performs with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and the Venturi Winds Quintet. He also enjoys cooking as time permits.

genecarboniGene Carboni is the Business/Technology Chair at Father Judge High School for Boys in Philadelphia, PA. He attended St. Joseph’s University Evening College and started teaching in Adult Education in 1984. His wife of 37 years, Elaine teaches 8th Grade ELA and their son, Gene is a High School, Social Studies teacher.

Gene’s PLP experience started in 2008 as Team Leader for his school’s team. Since that time he has been a PLP Fellow and a Connected Coach. He is active in various online educational communities, as well as an avid Twitter user who has a passion for sharing good educational resources to facilitate change. He is starting his second year as a member of The University of Pennsylvania’s Distributed Leadership team and serves on his school’s Technology Vision team. Gene dedicates his time to developing in-house staff development for 60+ teachers, administrators, and support staff. He has presented at various diocesan Technology In-services hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and was named a Diocesan Technology Star in 2009. Gene maintains Learning & Sharing 2.0 a site focused on helping educators embrace change, engage their students with new technologies making them ready to enter the 21st Century Work Force.

Dave DaleDave Dale: I have been teaching for 15 years mostly at the junior high level, but with breaks in elementary and high school to detox from the hormones of 13 to 15 year olds. I have been involved with PLP since the 2010/11 school year. I have really enjoyed building my personal network and teaching my students how to become connected learners. I love the conversations and ideas that flow from the groups I have been involved with, both students and adults. My horizons have been expanded. I look forward to meeting many new people, enjoying new experiences, and learning with everyone this year.

annefoxAnne Fox is a freelance English teacher and teacher trainer in the integration of ICT in everyday practice. She is also an experienced project partner and coordinator of Nordic and European projects which usually revolve around online learning, language and intercultural communication. Anne’s interest in digital tools started as an expatriate to Denmark in the 1990s as a way of keeping in touch with her family in the UK and France and also for professional development in her newly adopted role as English teacher. At the moment Anne works mostly helping adults improve their English but has also taught Danish high school students English and ICT. She is a Connected Coach from the class of February 2012 and is looking forward to meeting more fabulous PLP’ers in the upcoming session. Anne is co-host of the Absolutely Intercultural podcast and blogs here. Her favorite summer sport is tennis, both playing and watching the pros. In the long, dark Danish winters she is partial to reading about what makes people tick (sociology, history, psychology).

pattigraysPatti Grayson is a 4th grade teacher at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Virginia. She serves as the Lower School Technology Representative, and is part of the school’s Digital Learning Team. She is a connected educator, and works to connect her students to other classes through blogging, Skype, Edmodo, and Twitter. She has been involved with PLP since 2010, serving as a writer for PLP’s Voices From the Learning Revolution, and as a Connected Coach. Her articles have also appeared at MindShift and, and she was named a Top 10 Teacher in the Hampton Roads community for 2012. You can find Patti online at Patti’s Ponderings, and on Twitter @pattigrayson.

Heidi HutchisonHeidi Hutchison  has been a 4th grade teacher at Friends School of Baltimore for the past eight years. She has a dual degree in elementary and special education from the University of Delaware. Prior to Friends School, Heidi taught in Baltimore City and Baltimore County schools in the roles of a homeroom teacher and a case manager of special education students. At Friends School, she has served on the Teaching and Learning Committee which helps steer the school toward 21st century teaching and learning practices. Since completing her first year of PLP, Heidi has been called to her passion of helping to motivate and support other teachers and colleagues in their quest to make their classrooms a more relevant and supportive place for their students. She truly believes teachers need to create a space where students feel emotionally supported and safe in order for them to reach their true potential. Equally importantly, Heidi believes teachers also need this same support and safety in order to reach their goals on their own learning journey. Heidi loves to Tweet when she can and can be reached @HeidiHutchison or

Amy MusoneAmy Musone: I have been teaching elementary aged students since 1991 and am currently teaching third graders. I am continually aspiring to create a connected, authentic, relevant learning environment through PBL, use of primary documents, and of course, with the help of technology. I could not imagine being able to do the things I am able to do without the support from my colleagues, PLN, and communities of practice. I was introduced to PLP just last year and am completely hooked. I was involved in a yearlong professional development program with a cohort of teachers, took the connected coaching class, am currently involved in an online book club, and will be taking four more classes through PLP this year. The more I learn and grow, the more I want to learn and grow. Besides teaching children and being involved with PLP, I have been involved in facilitating a variety of professional development sessions. I recently began to blog and can be found on Twitter.

Lisa NealeLisa Neale is currently the Principal of Ancaster Senior Public School and The System Learning Commons located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. As an educational leader, she believes being present as a learner alongside staff, students, parents, colleagues and community is key in today’s digital era. Being a passionate learner who is self-directed and comfortable not being the expert inspires others to be lead learners with you. She believes that the the questions matter more than the answers and it’s okay to not know and in fact, that’s what makes creating a culture of continuous learning become real. Lisa’s passion for edtech started in the classroom in 1995 with one computer and eight students. Ever since then, it’s always been about engaging and empowering students and staff with a variety of tools that offer them choice and voice in how, when, where and what they learn. Her teaching experiences include: core/french immersion teacher, special education teacher and learning resource teacher. She has been in system and school administration since 2000 with portfolios in Adult and Continuing Education, 21st Century Learning and eLearning in both elementary and secondary panels. She has been a PLPeep course participant and guest presenter. She believes that leaders must learn first and lead second. Learning and leading must be visible, connected and tech-savvy. You can find out more on her blog and on twitter at @lisaneale.

Marsha RatzelMarsha Ratzel, from Prairie Village, Kansas, is a long-time middle school teacher, National Board Certified in Early Adolescent Science and professional development provider. She’s very involved with inquiry learning and how to best integrate technology into best classroom practices. As an adjunct professor at Mid-America Nazarene University, Marsha helps education graduate students explore how to “21st centurize” their assessment practices and give a 21st century perspective to their professional learning.

Marsha has worked within several PLP communities over the past two years as a connected coach. You can follow her on Twitter at @ratzelster, sometimes at the Voices from the Learning Revolution and at her own blog Reflections of a Techie.

patiterryPati Terry, from Virginia Beach, VA, has been involved with technology integration for more than 25 years, specializing in professional development and innovative instructional implementation. She has been a teacher, a supervisor of instructional technology, and a speaker at numerous local, state and national conferences. As an adjunct professor in the Education department at Virginia Wesleyan College, Pati helps pre-service teachers to discover the possibilities for how technology, along with student interests and differentiated curriculum can lead to academic success. Her doctoral work involved the use of online video in helping teachers to meet the NETS-T.

Pati is new this year to PLP, and brings enthusiasm and excitement to the possibilities of helping other educators grow in this collaborative environment. You can follow me on Twitter @pterry2.